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Kirkliston War Memorial

Kirkliston is a small town in West Lothian. I chanced upon it and its War Memorial, which is situated near the crossroads in the town, when I made a wrong turning exiting Dalmeny one day.

The memorial consists of a stone obelisk surmounted by a stone ball on a square pillar and bases with the square panels containing the dedication and lists of names:-

Kirkliston War Memorial

Dedication, “Erected by public subscription by the inhabitants of Kirkliston, Newbridge and Westerton districts to the memory of officers and men who fell in the Great War, 1914-1919”:-

Kirkliston War Memorial Dedication

Privates’ names for the Great War:-

Kirkliston War Memorial 3

Names of officers and non-commissioned officers from the Great War:-=

Kirkliston War Memorial 5

Names of officers and men from World War 2:-

Kirkliston War Memorial 4

Rhu War Memorial

Rhu is a village on the north bank of the River Clyde by the Gare Loch in Argyll and Bute. Its War Memorial stands in front of the churchyard, beautifully situated overlooking the entrance to the Gare Loch.

The inscription reads, “To the glory of God and in memory of the men from this parish who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War 1914-1918. And of those who fell in the war 1939-1945,” followed by World War 2 names. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Rhu Parish Church behind:-

Rhu War Memorial

Rhu War Memorial from the churchyard, Gare Loch behind:-

Rhu War Memorial from Churchyard

Rhu War Memorial from East. Names here are for the Great War:-

Rhu War Memorial from East

From west. Again the names are for the Great War:-

Rhu War Memorial from West

Jedburgh War Memorial

A cenotaph on a raised stone platform surrounded by a stone balustrade.

Jedburgh War Memorial, Full View

Close view. Great War names on these panels:-

Jedburgh War Memorial Close View

Showing east and south Great War plaques:-

Jedburgh War Memorial Closer View

From below steps. The facing lower plaque reads, “They died for their country 1914-1919.” Plaques to left and right list names for World War 2. (Jedburgh Abbey to left in background):-

Jedburgh War Memorial

World War 2 names:-

Jedburgh War Memorial Plaque 2

Jedburgh War Memorial Plaque

Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively

Andre Deutsch, 1987, 211 p.

Moon Tiger cover

Claudia Hampton, a professional historian and, though unmarried, mother of Lisa, is on her deathbed. The doctor mentally notes that birth and an earlier miscarried child. While various important people in her life come and go at her bedside Claudia’s thoughts roam over her life. Her reminiscences are presented in the first person but sometimes scenes (even the same ones) are given to us in the third person from a different viewpoint. Claudia tells us, “I’ve always thought a kaleidoscopic view might be an interesting heresy…. Chronology irritates me…. everything happens at once.”

She recognises her inadequacy as a parent and is pleased her daughter is not overly gifted, “Intelligence is always a disadvantage. Parental hearts should sink at the first signs of it.” The two most important of her relationships were those with her brother Gordon and with Tom Southern, the lover she met on a trip up to near the front during her stint in Cairo as a War Correspondent in World War 2. Love came on her as a surprise, “She has reached the ripe old age of thirty-one without knowing this particular derangement. For derangement is surely what it is; only by stern physical effort can she keep herself from looking at him, touching him.” This being wartime the affair ends abruptly. The child she miscarried was of course Tom’s.

So. Love, sex and death, here we are again. But Lively has conjured a wonderful book from those ingredients, well worth its Booker Prize win in 1987. Her treatment of the desert war is full of incidental detail rather than grand sweep and is more immediate for that fact. Tom tells her, “‘An astonishing amount of piety goes on out here. You’d be surprised. The Lord is frequently invoked. He’s on our side, by the way, you’ll be glad to hear – or at least it’s taken for granted that he is,’” and that, “we will win the war” – “‘in the last resort we have greater resources. Wars have little to do with justice. Or valour or sacrifice or the other things traditionally associated with them. War has been much misrepresented, believe me. It’s had a disgracefully good press.’”

Lively’s knowledge of Egypt is put to good use (the Moon Tiger is a green coil that slowly burns all night, repelling mosquitoes) and the casual racist attitudes of the time are noted. “It was always mildly satisfying to see British racial complacency matched if not excelled by French xenophobia; the contempt with which Madame Charlot and her friends could invest the word arabe was more pungent even than the careless English ‘Gyppo’ or the curious pejorative use of ‘native’. It made us seem positively liberal-minded,” yet Claudia’s reflections on life conclude, “unless I am a part of everything I am nothing.”

There is more than a hint of the unusually close about the sibling relationship. “Until I was in my late twenties I never knew a man who interested me as much as Gordon did…. I measured each man I met against him, and they fell short. I tested myself for the frisson that Gordon induced, and it was not there.” This is underlined by the thought, “Incest is closely related to narcissism.” Plus we have, “I love you, she thinks. Always have. More than I’ve ever loved anyone, bar one. That word is overstretched; it cannot be made to do service for so many different things – love of children, love of friends, love of God, carnal love and cupidity and saintliness.”

Lively portrays very well the heightened awareness, the stark but total recall, of a passionate relationship. The descriptions of the remainder of Claudia’s life after Tom’s death – eventful and readable though they are – are subtly flatter. Her complicated relationship with Lisa’s father, Jasper, is also handled perfectly.

This is literary fiction at its best.

Pedant’s corner:- waggons (wagons,) a missing comma before a piece of direct speech, maw (as a mouth. It’s a stomach,) “The bridges wear necklaces of coloured lights; all along the banks the houseboats are ablaze, glowing against the dark, swirling patterned water” (this was in wartime Cairo. Surely it must have had a blackout. There was one in Alexandria. Then again, Lively was there herself during the war,) staunches (stanches.)

More Liverpool War Memorials

There is a cluster of memorials on the riverfront of the Mersey in Liverpool – all relating to World War 2.

The SS Arandora Star was torpedoed west of Donegal on 2/7/1940. Over 800 drowned:-

Arandora Star Memorial, Liverpool

HMT Lancastria was sunk off St Nazaire 17/6/1940 while evacuating British servicemen and civilans. Up to 6,000 people lost their lives:-

HMT Lancastria Memorial, Liverpool

Memorial to ranks and ratings who died on shore with no known grave:-

On Shore Navy Casualties Memorial. Liverpool

Repatriation Memorial, commemorating the return of Far East prisoners of war and detainees:-

Repatriation Memorial, Liverpool

Merchant Navy Memorial, Liverpool

“Dedicated to the men and women who gave their lives willingly for the freedom of others and have no grave but the sea,” followed by,
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them”:-

Merchant Navy Memorial, Liverpool

Reverse view. “1914-1918 and all 1939-1945.”
“This memorial dedicated to the Merchant Navy was donated to the people of Liverpool by the Liverpool Retired Merchant Seafarers and handed to the city by the Rt Honourable John Prescott Deputy Prime Minister 30th October 1998”:-

Reverse of Merchant Navy Memorial, Liverpool

Cunard Building in background.

Captain F J Walker Memorial, Liverpool

A statue on Liverpool waterfront of Captain F J Walker CB DSO***, Royal Navy, 1896-1944.

Captain F J Walker Memorial, Liverpool

“In Memory of Captain F J Walker CB DSO***, Royal Navy, the men of his 36th Escort and 2nd Support Groups and all those who fought in the Battle of the Atlantic.”

(Museum of Liverpool in background with the Memorial to those lost at sea to right.)

No Grave but the Sea, Liverpool, Naval War Memorial

By the River Mersey, Liverpool, lies this memorial to Merchant Navy personnel who died serving in the Royal Navy and have no known grave. The names are engraved on the brass panels:-

Liverpool, Naval War Memorial

Central pedestal:-

Central Pedestal, Liverpool Naval War Memorial

Inscription. “These officers and men of the merchant navy died while serving with the Royal Navy and have no grave but the sea. 1939-1945”:-

Inscription, Liverpool Naval War Memorial

Reverse view:-

Reverse View, Liverpool Naval War Memorial

Cunard War Memorial, Liverpool

On the west side of the Cunard Building in Liverpool lies this Memorial dedicated to Cunard employees who died in the Great War and World War 2. A figure of Victory atop a column with a depiction of a boat extending either side of the column halfway up. “Pro Patria 1914-1918, 1939-1945”:-

Cunard War Memorial, Liverpool

Busy Day

I had a busy day yesterday.

Firstly I had the great honour of laying a wreath on behalf of the Community Council at the local War Memorial.

Then in the afternoon it was off to Cellardyke (where we have not-quite-yet relatives) for the Quiet Citizen’s Walk round the town past the houses of the fallen from the Great War poutsid eof which present residents were standing before joining the procession.

The walk ended up at Cellardyke Town Hall where a short talk was given on Cellardyke’s war dead. Unlike in the rest of the country most fishing town’s servicemen enlisted – or were conscripted into in the navy, their boats converted to minesweeping and anti-submarine duties and many sunk as a consequence. So it was with Cellardyke.

Actor Clive Russell who loives in the town recited Ewart Alan Mackintosh’s poem In Memoriam.

Then, in what was a moving detail, a succession of townsfolk who had been allocated a dog-tag with the name one of the dead came on to the stage to give the name and surrender the dog-tag to a total of 62.

There followed another walk to the Cellardyke (Kilrenny) War Memorial for the laying of wreaths and a piper’s lament.

Is it just me being Scottish or is there something more universal about the fittingness of the sound of the bagpipes played in memoriam?

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